NEW PORT RICHEY — James Smith heard a knock at the door. It was nearly 2 a.m. Wednesday, and Smith and his wife, Traci, had been drinking for several hours. According to authorities, both were heavily drunk.
Smith opened the door and was promptly floored by a man who hit him in the head with a shotgun, deputies said.
With the Smiths incapacitated — Mr. Smith was bleeding, and Mrs. Smith was so intoxicated she couldn't stand — the gunman ran inside, opened the fridge, grabbed a case of Natural Light beer and ran off.
Mr. Smith chased the gunman out into the street. Deputies say the attacker turned and fired two shots from the shotgun. Both missed Mr. Smith, who had already fallen over, a report says.
The couple recognized the man. They had met Dustin Hodgkiss for the first time earlier that evening while they were out walking their dog, and they all "hung out" for about 20 minutes before parting ways, the Smiths told the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
The Smiths said they hadn't expected him to show up hours later at their mobile home at 4141 Cardoon Drive in the Virginia City community of New Port Richey.
A deputy attempted to interview Mrs. Smith and asked whether she had seen the incident.
"Yes," Mrs. Smith said, according to the report.
"What happened?" the deputy asked.
"Yes," Mrs. Smith said, as she leaned on a car to hold herself up, the report says. The deputy gave up trying to interview her.
Hodgkiss, 19, was arrested a few hours later and charged with home invasion robbery with a weapon and aggravated assault. Mr. Smith, who was covered in blood, refused to be treated for his wounds by paramedics, the Sheriff's Office said. Because of the blood and his "severely intoxicated state," Mr. Smith was not able to give investigators a written statement, the report says.
Hodgkiss of 6144 Missouri Ave. in New Port Richey was being held at the Pasco jail in lieu of $55,000 bail.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6229.